The intersection of natural fractures with hydraulic fractures results in formation of complex fracture networks, including non-planar fractures or multi-stranded fractures. On one hand, opening of these natural fractures improves productivity of the formation; on the other hand, coalescence of these fractures into a hydraulic fracture makes pressure analysis and prediction of fracture growth very complicated. Overall, interactions between natural fractures and hydraulic fractures pose more challenges in the fracturing design and its execution. Investigation and understanding of their interaction are crucial in achieving successful fracture treatments in formations with pre-existing natural fracture network. In this paper, we will review the numerical works that have been done in the last decade to model opening of natural fractures during hydraulic fracturing, focusing especially on mechanical models that address propagation of hydraulic fractures in naturally fractures reservoirs. Linear elastic fracture mechanics, cohesive element methods and continuum damage mechanics techniques utilized to understand interaction of hydraulic fractures with natural fractures are discussed here based on their capability to reproduce experimental results and field observations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Computer Science Applications